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Apple Watch Series 3 Cellular vs GPS-only: What’s the difference?

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Apple Watch Series 3 Cellular vs GPS-only: What’s the difference?

But even so a cell antenna and a $70 upcharge, how do Apple's two Series 3 watches range?

Whilst the new Series 3 Apple Watch appears to be like nigh-identical to its older fashions, it packs a ton of added capability into the ones 38mm and 42mm casings.

The 38mm and 42mm Series 3 function the following:

  • OLED 1000-nit Retina show with Power Contact
  • An S3 dual-core processor for a 1.7x quicker velocity bump that places the Series 2 to disgrace
  • integrated GPS and GLONASS
  • Barometric altimeter for monitoring stair-climbing and elevation features
  • Water resistance (as much as 50 meters)
  • Siri voice reaction
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2
  • Apple's W2 wireless chip for simple pairing for your iPhone and wireless equipment
  • As much as 18 hours battery lifestyles, relying on duties

However for all their similarities, the Series 3 watches are available in two configurations: GPS, and GPS + Cellular. This is how the two of them range.


That is the giant one: The GPS + Cellular Apple Watch comes with LTE connectivity, which lets you piggyback off your present service plan (for an extra per month rate, typically round $10) and get web and phone connectivity even if your iPhone is a long way away.

How your cellular carrier is handling the Apple Watch Series 3

The Series 3's LTE protection, whilst tied for your present service, means that you can do anything else solo on the Apple Watch that you'll do when tied for your iPhone's knowledge. That comes with hanging calls, sending messages, the usage of Siri, navigating by the use of Maps, taking part in with third-party apps, and absolutely anything else.

Siri is especially spectacular, responding nearly instantaneously all the way through our hands-on checks, but when the freedom of transferring about along with your watch with out an iPhone appeals to you, the Cellular choice is a big receive advantages.

Apple Track streaming

Whilst it may not release when the Series 3 ships, the GPS + Cellular watch will acquire fortify for Apple Track streaming in October — and it looks as if it is going to be the solely watch in Apple's lineup that may achieve this. We've a question in to Apple to verify that it is a Series 3 GPS + Cellular unique, however I believe it would must do with the subsequent bullet level in this record: garage measurement.

Garage Dimension

The GPS + Cellular Series 3 has double the garage capability: 16GB to the GPS-only's 8GB. Whilst we do not need an reliable solution from Apple as to why, I am guessing it has to do with the watch's approaching Apple Track streaming function: Apple Track wishes a specific amount of cached garage to circulate, and if the corporate moreover plans to permit customers to in the community obtain playlists from the streaming catalog, the more room is essential.

Entrance Casings and Taste

Like the hole between Series 1 and Series 2, the GPS-only Series 3 is restricted to simply aluminum Game and Nike+ casings (silver, gold, or house gray) with their Ion-X glass display. By contrast, the GPS + Cellular Watch keeps the higher-end casings previously provide with the Series 2 along with the aluminum Game and Nike+ casings. This comprises choices like stainless-steel, white and gray ceramic, and Hermès metal.

The pricing on those has remained the identical as their Series 2 opposite numbers: $599 for metal, $1149 for Hermès, and $1299 for ceramic. I do know a large number of other people are upset to not have metal as an choice — particularly those that cannot but get the Cellular Apple Watch of their nation — however Apple most probably does not wish to promote their higher-end watches at a cut price or with subpar options.

Additionally price noting with regards to taste: All Series 3 GPS + Cellular watches have a pink dot on the Virtual Crown. Why? Neatly, there is at all times my idea…

Rear Casing

It is a giant exchange from Series 2, and person who in truth leaves me a bit of befuddled: The Series 3 GPS + Cellular watch is as soon as once more the solely watch to obtain a ceramic again quilt, with the GPS-only watch the usage of a composite again. Apple's unique Series 0 Apple Watch solely presented ceramic again covers for its metal and Version watches, however the Series 2 moved so that every one fashions — aluminum, metal, and ceramic — used ceramic backs.

Now, with the Series 3, there is a distinct department: All GPS + Cellular fashions (aluminum, metal, or ceramic) will obtain a ceramic again, however the Series 3 GPS-only aluminum watches are diminished to a composite masking — just like the Series 1, which additionally sports activities a composite again.

It is a bizarre transfer for a tool that is in a different way very an identical, however it should assist Apple stay costs low: The GPS-only Series 3's beginning worth is $329, a $20 cut price off the $349 beginning worth of the Series 2.

Battery Existence

It is a query I have won a couple of instances on Twitter, and it is a just right one: Will the Series 3 GPS + Cellular have worse battery lifestyles than the Series 3 GPS-only Apple Watch?

The solution is: Yeah, most definitely — however solely in case you are the usage of GPS + Cellular. Apple's own battery tests peg each watches at an 18-hour moderate, with specifics highlighted beneath:

All-day battery lifestyles is in keeping with 18 hours with the following use: 90 time exams, 90 notifications, 45 mins of app use, and a 30-minute exercise with tune playback from Apple Watch by the use of Bluetooth, over the process 18 hours.

Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) utilization comprises connection to iPhone by the use of Bluetooth all the way through the whole 18-hour take a look at. Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) utilization comprises a complete of 4 hours of LTE connection and 14 hours of connection to iPhone by the use of Bluetooth over the process 18 hours.

Whilst Apple does not notice which watch configuration it used for those checks (38mm or 42mm), it did peg the Cellular watch at 18 hours' with 4 hours of LTE and 14 hours of iPhone connectivity — about what the moderate individual would possibly use in a given day.

Particular battery checks, alternatively, are a long way much less forgiving. This is how the Series 3 fared in Apple's single-task checks:

  • Communicate: 3 hours attached to iPhone, 1 hour w/ Cellular
  • Audio: 10 hours w/ Bluetooth (Apple Track streaming no longer examined)
  • Exercise: 10 hours w/ iPhone, 5 hours the usage of simply GPS, 4 hours the usage of GPS + Cellular

And herein lies the drawback of a GPS + Cellular-enabled watch: In opting for to pursue connectivity over battery lifestyles, Apple nonetheless does not reasonably have the battery numbers to make long-distance runners (like ultra-marathoners) glad if they are the usage of GPS, let on my own GPS + Cellular.

We're going to be doing in depth battery trying out for our Series 3 evaluate to take a look at and make sure and expound on those numbers, so keep tuned.


Each watches shall be to be had for pre-order on the 15th and transport on the 22nd, however the GPS + Cellular watch (and its quite a lot of casing variations) will solely send to 10 nations at release.

This comprises: - The U.S.: AT&T, Dash, T-Cellular, and Verizon - The U.Ok.: EE - Canada: Bell (Telus later in 2017) - Puerto Rico: AT&T, Dash, and T-Cellular - Australia: Optus and Telstra (Vodafone later in 2017) - France: Orange - Germany: Telekom - Japan: NTT DOCOMO, au, SoftBank - China: China Unicom just for Guangdong, Henan, Hunan, Shanghai, and Tianjin (China Cellular and China Telecom later this yr) - Switzerland: None at release (Daybreak and Swisscom each later in 2017)

As a result of you'll't use an eye fixed on a unique service than what you now use on your iPhone, this may enormously restrict the collection of GPS + Cellular consumers at release to those nations and carriers.

We are lately having a look into whether or not you'll purchase a Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular in such a nations and use it in your house nation till your community gives provider, and can record again once we know extra.


The general metric that separates those two units is worth: The GPS-only Series 3 begins at $329 for a 38mm aluminum casing, whilst the GPS + Cellular Series 3 begins at $399, a $70 upcharge. If you need cell provider, the nicer casings, garage, and Apple Track, that worth would possibly smartly be price it. If you'll't, you could wish to skip out this yr.

Which watch is worthwhile?

What do you assume, iMore? Will you be selecting up a GPS + Cellular Series 3 subsequent week, or simply GPS? Or no Series 3 in any respect? Tell us beneath.


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